It's amazing how spending the day exploring a new place can feel like you've had a little holiday, I guess it's the break in routine and getting away from it all even if it's just for the day that makes all the difference.
We didn't actually set out to visit Tourtour, it was recommended by a lovely old French gentleman whom we met whilst fixing TweenieB's glasses in nearby Draguignan. So after a delicious pizza in an unimpressive restaurant in the square, we set off.
As we reached the summit and entered into Tourtour village which by the way is classed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, I reached for my camera to capture the charm of this medieval village.
Apparently the first record of Tourtour dates back to the 4th century. It is surrounded by meadows and grasslands and the cherry trees were in full bloom. We drove through the village and parked in an area close to the spring which was flowing at quite a speed with fresh mountain water that feeds the eight fountains found in the village. The water was so cold and fresh and the children enjoyed a drink before tracking it up the hillside into the village centre, don't worry there is an easier route if you don't fancy this shortcut.
We had a great time walking through the small streets, discovering some of the more quirky aspects of Tourtour. It’s called the village in the sky and I would suggest that this little Moroccan restaurant is aspiring to be the eatery in the sky!
The French really know how to enjoy their lives. Lunchtime is always a relaxed affair with a freshly cooked ‘Plat du jour’, eaten at leisure and washed down with the compulsory glass of wine. Tourtour has a couple of restaurants but if you fancy a bringing a picnic, there are plenty of tables by the church.
Shops close 12 -2, sometimes longer with weekends being no exception. It’s quite common to close at 12 on a Saturday not opening again until Monday or Tuesday which is wonderful as an employee/owner (and my husband) but for us tourists it can be quite disappointing! There is a 17th-century olive-oil mill (Moulin à huile) and a fossil museum (Musée des fossiles) right in the village but again these were closed so I can't comment.
For all the walkers out there, there are several hiking trails in the hills and valleys surrounding Tourtour, with many loop possibilities. Some of the trails pass through the line of villages: Sillans, Salernes, Villecroze, Tourtour and Ampus.
Art seems to ooze from every corner, the village is full of galleries and home to a beautiful sculpture by Bernard Buffet, who was a French painter of Expressionism and Member of the Anti-Abstract Art Group. He was born in Paris but died in Tourtour leaving this beautiful sculpture in memory of his time in the village.
I definitely recommend you add this village to your 'to do list'. If you want to find out more about the village check out their website http://www.tourtour.org